Monday, April 12, 2010

Political Weekend

I am an unaffiliated voter. Among other things, this means I am part of a bloc of the electorate that comprises nearly 1/3 of the total active voters in Colorado.1

As a result, I don't get to participate in the caucus process that determines who represents a political party on the ballot, and whether or not a primary election is even necessary. In Mesa County, it doesn't appear that the latter has to happen very often.

I'm not an expert on the political process; there are plenty of those to go around. Excellent analysis of these processes, at least from the Republican side, came from local blogger Gene Kinsey. Gene's insights as to the nature of the beast came in several posts, available here, here, and even here.

Gene illustrated well the pattern of recycling career Republican politicians in our area. Not that this is a bad thing in all respects, but how to you avoid disenfranchising those who want, and likely deserve, a place in the process? The Democrats even do this; at least since I've lived here, the county Coroner's office has rotated through the Pathology department at Community Hospital, without apparent opposition. I could probably start into a bunch of reasons why Mesa County should be a Home Rule county with an appointed Medical Examiner, but that's for another time.

There was a bit of a ripple in the calm pond of this 'business as usual' on the GOP side, with the unsuccessful nomination of Tom Bjorklund for the office of County Treasurer. Tom's wife, Shari, tried running for legislator a couple of times.

One friend of mine on Facebook, who attended the GOP assembly on Saturday, described Mr. Bjorklund as a "narcissistic idiot". I wouldn't know about that, but his Facebook profile lists him as a fan of the Personhood amendment and Tom Tancredo. Allll-righty, then..

On the Democratic side, Mesa County's contingent did make the news for bucking the remainder of the state in supporting incumbent appointee Senator Michael Bennet in his bid for a full term, over the favorite of the rest of the state, Andrew Romanoff.

If I were really interested in all of this, I would probably register with one party or another. In this context, Gene made another great point, specifically about the Tea Party faction within the GOP:
There is no room at (Mesa County Republicans') table for newcomers and outsiders...It is this closed attitude in both parties that has been the genesis of the TEA party and sister organizations. The Tea parties are unstructured groups of people dissatisfied by both parties. Republicans may think that the ire of the TEA party is directed against the Democrats, but it is directed against the old way of doing business.
I do get e-mail from the Mesa County Democrats, and see a lot of the same names, but also a lot of new names in recent years. Unfortunately, only one name there has seen fit to challenge for state office this time around, so Mesa County's two seats in the state House will be occupied by Republicans without opposition. What does this do for the rigorous, open exchange of ideas inherent to the survival of a democratic system of government? Not much.

I found a much more interesting example of political analysis on TV this weekend. It's good evidence of the adage that when you arrive at the way some things are done, sometimes you just have to laugh.

Have a good week ahead.

1 Colorado Secretary of State, Voter Registration Statistics, March 2010

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